Pat Robertson turns against marijuana legalization

August 13, 2014

Prominent conservative televangelist Pat Robertson has repudiated his previous support for marijuana legalization. Jacob Sullum has a good post explaining why Robertson’s reasons for changing his mind are far from compelling. Robertson cites protection of children as his main reason. But, as Sullum pointed out previously, pot smoking among teenagers in the state has actually declined slightly since legalization, at a rate faster than the decline in the national average.

Regardless of Robertson’s views, there is still a strong conservative case for not only legalizing marijuana, but abolishing the entire War on Drugs. Even if you do not believe that individuals have a fundamental right to decide for themselves what substances they put in their bodies, conservatives have good reason to oppose the War on Drugs on purely consequentialist grounds, similar to those they often focus on in other contexts. It is an enormous waste of taxpayer resources. It also is a major interference with free markets, undermines family values in poor neighborhoods, and strengthens organized crime and our enemies in the War on Terror.

Ilya Somin is Professor of Law at George Mason University. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, and popular political participation. He is the author of "The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain" (forthcoming) and "Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter."
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